A Tesco store has been forced to close after ram raiders stole two cash machines out of the wall using a digger, before ramming police cars and managing to escape without getting arrested.
In the early hours of Monday, the Tesco store in Whitfield, Kent, appears to have been targetted by ram raiders as pictures have been circulating on social media shows a large orange digger discarded outside the store entrance.
— Niall Crutchfield (@KsfaNiall) March 23, 2020
The criminals used the digger to steal the ATM machines and then loaded them onto the back of a truck and speeding away, two other cars accompanied this.
Since the incident, the area has been closed off with police tape.
Initially, the supermarket had opened for business in the morning but has been forced to close. Staff at the scene informed Kent Live that the store is due to open later in the day.
An eyewitness confirmed that three cash machines have been left completely wrecked, which are situated at the front of the store.
The bystander added that ‘the digger bucket had damaged the overhanging roof too’.
Since the crime has been shared through social media, local residents have been sharing their outrage online, as the incident has taken place during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic whilst people have been going out panic buying, leave supermarket shelves empty.
— Samuel Lilley (@RailwaysToday15) March 23, 2020
One person wrote: “Disgusting scenes at a Tesco in Dover, someone turned up with a digger over the last few days a mist [sic] the crisis gripping this country!”
Another person commented: “Only in Dover would someone steal the ATM machine up Tesco’s… Seriously is this what it is going to come to???”
Kent Police have now released a statement, asking for witnesses to come forward.
It reads: “Kent Police is appealing for witnesses after cash machines were stolen from a supermarket in Dover.
“A digger is reported to have been used to remove two ATMs from a wall at Tesco in Honeywood Parkway, Whitfield at around 12.30 am on Monday 23 March 2020.
“The machines were loaded onto a flat-bed truck, which was driven in convoy with two Mitsubishi Shogun vehicles.
“Two police vehicles which attempted to stop the group were rammed and damaged in Old Park Hill, Dover. No serious injuries were reported.
“Significant damage has been caused and detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are carrying out enquiries to locate those responsibly.
“Anyone who witnessed the incident or has CCTV or dashcam footage that may assist the investigation is urged to call the appeal line on 01622 604100, quoting reference 46/52654/20.
“You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or complete an online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”